Giving Dogs A New Leash On Life...One Click At A Time

Today is: Wednesday January 17, 2018

Grooming Your Dog

Brushing your dog

Regular brushing helps to eliminate tangling and mats. It also allows you the opportunity to check for ticks, fleas, lesions, lumps, or changes in skin or coat. It is also a good way to bond with your dog. Brushing feels great to him and is very relaxing.

Different coats require different brushes. Slicker brushes have a bed of fine, closely spaced wires, that are usually bent or hooked. These brushes are good for removing mats, tangles, or loose hair. Wire pin brushes have a bed of pins that are straight. Sometimes the pins are tipped with plastic. This is the preferred brush for medium or longhaired dogs or those with curly or wooly coats. Wire pin brushes are also good for removing tangles, but can be uncomfortable for shorthaired dogs. Bristle brushes can be used on all types of coats. The longer the coat, the more widely spaced and longer the bristles should be. For coarser hair the bristles need to be stiffer. Bristle brushes leave hair looking sleek, smooth, and shiny. A bristle brush may be the only brush needed for shorthaired dogs.

Prior to brushing, you may want to spray on a detangling grooming mist, which will condition the hair and make brushing easier. Begin brushing with the slicker brush, to remove loose hair and tangles. For tough tangles, gently brush small sections at a time. Be careful not to pull or tear the hair, this is very painful. Brushing should be a pleasurable experience, so take your time. You should start brushing at the head and work towards the tail, use firm, but, gentle strokes. For thicker coats, first brush against the grain. Once the entire coat is brush, brush again following the grain. Use longer strokes for long hair and shorter strokes for short or wiry hair. 

Hair Mats

Hair mats can be very painful for your dog. Mats are often very firmly attached to the skin, so you must be extremely careful not to cut the skin when cutting off the mat.

You should begin by brushing out as much of the mat as possible. Be sure to take small, gentle strokes. You may want to buy special mat removing spray to help make this job easier. Some smaller mats can be removed by brushing alone. If brushing will not remove all of the mat, it will be necessary to cut the remaining mat out. Clippers, if available, would be better to use than scissors. When using scissors, it is best to use a fine tooth comb as well. This will help you for cutting the skin. Take the comb and slide it through between the mat and the skin. Once the comb is under the mat, take the scissors and cut the hair between the mat and the comb. When using scissors please remember to be careful and to take your time.

The best way to avoid getting mats is to have regular and frequent brushing sessions.

Trimming your dog's nails

Trimmed nails are an important part of your dogs overall health and well-being.  Untrimmed nails can create a variety of problems for your dog. In some cases, nails will curl and grow back into his feet. This is extremely painful for him!  Untrimmed nails often times can get caught in carpets and be accidentally ripped out of his paw.

A good indication that your dog's nails need trimmed is the "click-click-click" when walking on uncarpeted areas.

Before starting, you should have styptic powder available. This will help stop the bleeding if you cut into the quick.

You may want to sit on the floor with your dog. Firmly hold his paw and push on his pads to extend the nail. Locate where the quick ends.  In clear and light nails it is easy to locate, the pink area is the quick. It is a little bit harder to locate in darker nails.

Using a good nail trimmer, cut the nail just up to the end of the quick, (be careful not to cut the quick) at a 45 degree angle.  On dogs with darker nails, it is best to do several small cuts, instead of one big one.  Trim very thin slices off the end of the nail until you see a black dot appear in the center of the nail when you look at it heads on. This is the start of the quick, the part that you want to avoid!

If your dog lets you do all 4 paws at the same time, then do it.  If he is fighting you do as much as he will let you do at a time. But, be sure to take breaks.  He needs to gradually get used to having his nails trimmed. Don't force him.

If you accidentally cut the quick, wipe off the blood and apply styptic powder.

Try to trim nails weekly.  Also, make sure you have a pair of good clippers.

Ear Care

Unless your dog has ear problems or spends time swimming, ear cleaning only needs to be done every few weeks. Clean the outermost area of your dog's ears with a cotton ball that is slightly dampened with either water or baby oil. To clean the inside of the ear you must use an ear-cleaning solution.

Warm the bottle of ear-cleaning solution between your palms. Then, squirt the specified amount into the ear canals. Gently massage the base of his ears. Remove any dirt, wax, or excess solution with a dry, clean cotton ball. Do not insert anything into the ear canal. This can create damage to the canal.

This site and its contents are intended to serve as basic informational purposes 
 --not a substitute for-- 
professional veterinary care!


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